My Letter to the Editor in the Monterey County Herald today (Jan. 15):
Residents of this area take great pride in our “homeboy,” Leon Panetta, currently President Obama’s Secretary of Defense. But I can’t help but cringe when the good secretary defends our bloated military budget.
Just the other day Secretary Panetta worried about “drastic cuts” ($50 billion annually) in defense if Congress failed to implement a spending plan. “The simple fact is that this fiscal uncertainty has become a serious threat to our national security,” Panetta said during a Pentagon press conference. “We really have no choice but to prepare for the worst.” This uncertainty, he claims, “will seriously harm our military readiness.”
He can’t be serious, can he? The U.S. already spends more than $700 billion annually on defense and international security assistance. That’s more than the next 13 biggest-spending nations combined, including China, Russia and the United Kingdom. There is no other country that is even close to seriously challenging us militarily. Polling shows the vast majority of Americans support reduced defense spending, knowing we have so many pressing needs domestically.
It could it be that Mr. Panetta has been hanging around the Beltway for far too long and needs to come home as quickly as possible.